Chapter Three

The poem

"Josie, come in".

Josie walked in and was surprised to see Caroline. Sam was sitting behind the desk. Josie thought they both looked a bit flushed, although the rosy cheeks on Caroline only served to enhance her pretty face.

Josie had noticed Caroline right away, even envying her. They had several classes together. Where Caroline was slender and extremely attractive, Josie was slightly overweight and just average looking, she thought. Granted, perhaps if she took better care of her appearance, it might be different. Today with her brown Gaucho pants, cream buttoned dress-shirt, and braided hair, she suddenly felt less than sexy. Caroline was very popular in school, especially with the boys, and knew how to play it.

Josie had never had much positive experience with the popular crowd in the past, but to her amazement, Caroline was really nice to her. On her first day during lunch, Caroline had offered Josie a seat next to her at the lunch table with Kristin, Kirsten and Gibby, the other popular girls at school. But, Josie didn't think Caroline really considered her a friend.

Josie remained standing by the door, waiting for Sam and Caroline to finish whatever discussion they were having.

"Caroline, we need to talk" Sam said intently lookinh at Caroline. She nodded her head. "Please, stop by my office tomorrow." Caroline nodded again and left, her triumphant face still aglow.

Sam ran his hands through his hair, frustrated with himself and at what happened after Caroline's departure. He had just been kissed by Caroline. He took a deep breath to compose himself.

Looking at Josie, he walked around the desk towards her. "What can I do for you Josie?"

Josie couldn't help but notice the exasperated tone of voice Sam used to address her. Misunderstanding, the coldness permeated throughout her heart. She was about to inform him that she was actually an undercover reporter from the Chicago Sun Times, posing as a student to research a story on teenagers.

However, those words couldn't come now.

She WAS 25 years old, graduated at the top of her class, a successful copywriter, she wasn't Josie Grossie anymore…but still, she couldn't shake loose the feeling of insecurity about her looks as she faced Sam. He was so handsome. Would he even be interested in her if he knew she was 25 years old and available? She so wanted him to give her her first real kiss. As she glanced at his lips, her stomach did sommersaults.

"Oh, uh.. a..actually I just wanted to make sure that I had copied down the reading assignment correctly" Josie said softly "it is pages 65-124, correct?"

Sam, more calm again, looked at his notes. "Yep, that's it. And don't forget the free verse poem assignment that's due next week."

"Oh, I've already done it" Josie said eagerly. "I love writing." Then, Josie hesitantly added "W…would you like to read my poem?" her face flushed bright red.

Sam smiled at her enthusiasm for writing. It was contagious. He found himself curious. "Of course Josie. Why don't you read it to me? Please sit."

Josie smiled and sat on the chair across Sam's desk. Sam sat on the desk, facing Josie. This close, Sam was surprised to notice how beautiful her eyes were. They were a clear crystal blue with tiny flecks of gold. He could also see the slight sprinkle of adorable freckles on her flushed cheeks.

Josie's heart began to beat nervously. Her voice quivered as she began:

Does he notice me? Does he hear my heart screaming his name?

Sometimes it's so loud that I think God must hear my pain

His voice is so mellifluous

Amazing! the way he makes me soar

I haven't lived till meeting him

I feel his arms around me

And all I see is him and me

Forever and forever

And although, I know that it's all in my head

That I'm talking to myself instead

There, I see his eyes aglow with love

If only real, my penguin from above.

Alas, will he ever notice?

'Cause I'm still waiting – waiting to be his.

Josie's voice trailed off to a whisper at the last sentence. She couldn't hold Sam's gaze and glanced down at her hands.

Sam was pensive as he listened to her. When she was done, he gently grabbed her chin and raised her head so he could gaze deeply into her eyes. Softly, he said "That's really well written Josie". He was really touched by her poem, and added "Well Josie, all I can tell you is that when you're my age, guys will be lined up 'round the block for you." He suddenly felt uncomfortable at the thought of Josie with other guys.

Looking into Sam's penetrating eyes, Josie's blue ones suddenly became sad. "You have to say that because you're my teacher".

Awkwardly, Sam glanced away and said "Actually, I shouldn't say that because I'm your teacher."

"Oh…" Josie said, blushing.

His gaze was on her lips as she looked away.